Tech product trends in Europe during the lockdown

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GfK has been tracking sales of tech and durable items during the lockdown for the Coronavirus emergency, revealing some shifts in buying behavior. After the initial shock, consumers began to adapt to the new life almost exclusively at home, postponing the purchase of some products and focusing on all those technological devices that allow to work, study and entertain at home. GfK analyzed the trend of the technical consumer goods in the five most important European markets (Great Britain, Germany, France, Spain and Italy) in the period between March 9th and April 5th 2020. In those weeks, working at home has driven up sales of monitors (+120 percent, sales units), printers (+68 percent), notebooks (+62 percent) and keyboards (+61 percent) in five major European markets. Webcams have seen the largest sales growth peak at +297 percent. Eating at home sent consumers into a stockpiling mindset and they rushed to buy freezers and refrigerators to store extra food. In the first three weeks of March, freezer sales in Great Britain grew by +317 percent (sales units) compared to the same period last year. In Germany, the growth was equal to +185 percent, while in France +44 percent. Besides, entertainment at home has accelerated tech sales too. From the start of lockdown, sales of media sticks and boxes rose by +50 percent in some markets (sales units). In Great Britain, sales of TVs rose by +31 percent between March 9th – April 5th: in particular consumers added cheaper extra TVs to cope with different viewing habits. Gaming consoles also benefitted, with sales units up +259 percent in Great Britain, +139 percent in Germany, +132 percent in France, +108 percent in Spain and +65 percent in Italy. Gaming notebooks also profited from the play at home trend and achieved a robust double-digit growth during the same period, ranging between 33 percent (Italy) and 92 percent (Spain).
Online sales value grew almost +100 percent in week commencing 30th of March in Europe’s five biggest markets. However, even that huge leap couldn’t compensate for the losses in physical retail stores and the overall market decreased by -14 percent compared to the same period last year. GfK’s analysis shows that sales made online would need to quadruple to offset complete store closures. Norbert Herzog, GfK expert for global market insights, believes there are three steps that consumers and markets will go during the Covid-19 crisis: “After panic, we entered the ‘Adapt’ phase. This is about making the best of staying at home by treating ourselves and creating better home experiences; be it eating, entertainment or well-being. This is where we are now – broadly at least. Next will follow the stores’ reopening, consumers will release their pent-up demand for items they have held off buying such as large home appliances or smartphones. Finally, we’ll reach a ‘new normal’ characterized by a difficult economic environment and tighter consumer budgets. Finally, we expect digital services like click & collect, online ordering and digital payment systems to experience sustainable growth as people got used to the benefits of these solutions”.


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